Material: Sardonyx Shell, 15k gold tested.
Size: 2 5/8" by 2 1/8" .
Date and Origin: Circa 1860 Italy. Signed Siotto Roma
Conditions: A natural shell line who runs from the top and ends to the breast of the Lady, visible when cameo is backlit.
This is a Museum Quality cameo depicting very probably the Queen of Prussia and German Empress Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria of England. This cameo is very finely and superbly carved, as can be seen looking at the pictures. The three dimensional and finest carving make this cameo rare and precious. Her face is pretty and the facial features are perfect. Look at her braided hair, amazing. Her dress is rich and full of details. She is wearing large earrings and a long beaded necklace. This cameo is an artwork even because it was carved by an artist, Pio Siotto, he was born in Rome, May 3, 1824 and was an Italian artist active as a cameo engraver (gem engraver). His carving quality, even in this cameo, can be surely compared and can rival with the works of his contemporaries including the Saulinis.
He studied architecture, figure, ornate and modeling in clay at the Academy of St. Luke in Rome, and his teacher in modeling was Pietro Tenerani. He initially apprenticed with Bartolomeo Rinaldi: but soon set up his own studio. He was prolific. He engraved portraits or scenes, in profile and perspective, large and small, on medallions, pins, rings, bracelets bearing engraved stones from him. His onyx (soft) cameos were engraved steel tip, while his cameos on shells and semi-precious hard stones (pietre dure), were engraved with a diamond-dust lathe.
For a noble Polish noblewoman, he engraved a series of medallions representing the Kings of Poland. This collection in shell cameos, was begun in 1860, and completed in 1870. He completed a medallion depicting the Lacoon of the Vatican Palace. he has also made copies of sculpture of Thorvaldsen, Gibson, Canova, and Fedi. He engraved Fedi's Rape of olyxena,, displayed under the Loggia dei Lanzi, in a cameo, which was stolen at the Centennial Exposition of Philadelphia. He made a tryptich of sardonyx cameos to celebrate the family of the Queen Margherita of Savoy: the first depicts the monument raised in Turin for the Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Genoa (Queen's father), the other an equestrian statue of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, father of the then present king; and the third medal was the portrait of the then Prince of Naples, later King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. Siotto was awarded at the Expositions of Rome, Naples, Vienna, Philadelphia, and Melbourne. At Melbourne he exhibited in a glass exhibition case, the process of cameo engraving from the natural shell to completed carving.
This cameo is really a wonderful piece, superbly carved. The pictures really don't give justice to this piece even because it was not yet cleaned. A wonderful cameo for all the enthusiast cameo collectors.
NOTE: Cameo has been not yet cleaned.